Timber – the endless possibilities

There are some exciting things happening in the world of mass timber construction, particularly in Australia! Designs are becoming more complex, sustainability targets are becoming more impressive and timber buildings are getting even bigger, with Sydney and Perth possibly becoming home to the world's tallest hybrid timber skyscrapers

The infinite benefits  
Timber projects are fast gaining popularity with Australian builders, architects and developers embracing this technology and unlocking its potential in their projects. Timber has long since been known for its light-weight, speedy construction times and tactile architectural qualities and it is also quickly gaining momentum for its sustainability credentials, creating a way to potentially decarbonise the building sector.  
The many firsts  
Northrop has significant expertise in this area in our Structural and Sustainability teams, and has been thrilled to be part of this trend partnering with architects, project managers, timber suppliers and builders to deliver some award-winning landmark projects, including a few Australian firsts - the first timber commercial office building, the first timber grandstand, the first childcare facility in a mass timber building, and the first regional building in NSW to receive a 6 Star Green Star Certification.  
Our enthusiasm, knowledge and capabilities around designing timber engineered buildings continues to grow, and we have built a strong team who are rapidly becoming recognised for their expertise in mass timber design and construction solutions. With Australia facing current challenging market conditions, Northrop has also taken the time to foster strong relationships with well-established European and Australian timber suppliers to ensure clear supply chains. 
We have worked closely with the timber experts at the suppliers Rubner, Binderholz, Hess and Stora Enso and installers Savcon and Xcel to deliver our mass timber projects. Working directly with timber suppliers and installers ensures a successful construction outcome as we weave our structural design capabilities with their knowledge of the material and how it performs, their experience with assembly and the capabilities of their machinery. As the Australian construction industry’s experience with mass timber construction grows, this collaboration is essential. 
We have continued to build on our relationship with the industry by offering not only structural design and documentation but including modelling to LOD400 for timber manufacturers to bring the connections in 3D straight into their manufacturing workflow. We are currently providing these services on the Macquarie University Law School for the supplier Rubner Holzbau and have achieved the accuracy required to allow them to carry through our model into their CNC workflow. 
Read more about some of our timber projects: 
Or find out more about our expertise in our Timber Capability Statement
The strength of great project partners  
The recently completed Q Building at the University of Newcastle is a firm Northrop favourite. The strength of our established relationship with the project builders, Hansen Yuncken, really helped make this ambitious project a success. Here's what they had to say about us:  
“Hansen Yuncken thoroughly enjoyed working with Ali Habibi and the Northrop team on the Q-building project. We have an established relationship with Northrop completing many projects in the region with them, but it was a new experience to work with their mass timber designers. The approach of the mass timber team was akin to that of their wider business. Fully engaged in the project, they were very proactive and effective in rapidly completing the design. They were hands-on in resolving design and coordination issues and assisting us in managing the shop drawing / fabrication model process with our fabricator. Of significant note was Ali’s teams understanding of certification and fire engineering requirements which were extremely beneficial in closing out the Fire Engineering Report and other authority requirements for a project such as this one. I look forward to delivering similar projects in the near future together with Northrop." 
Jonathan Russell - Project Manager | Hansen Yuncken 
Are you considering designing and building your next project with timber?    
Northrop and our panel of experts – our building and design partners – Hansen Yuncken and Scientific Fire Services - hosted a live webinar in September to share the opportunities and challenges of mass timber structures.  
The webinar includes insights on our experience with:  
  • Creative design 
  • Structural layout optimisation 
  • BIM modelling and modelling for fabrication 
  • And more!    
Feel free to contact Ali Habibi and Nicholas Boey in our Sydney office on 02 9241 4188 if you have any questions.  
Image credits:  
Honeysuckle City Campus, University of Newcastle – via Murray McKeon Photography 
Eric Tweedale Stadium – via Brett Boardman Photography 
Sydney Fish Market – via 3XN 


Principal | Structural Operations Leader | Structural Engineer
PRINCIPAL | Structural Engineer
Ali HabibiNick Boey

Want to keep in touch? Sign up